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Ramblings

March 12, 2012

Wow - just got back form a winter ride in Ontario and 13 days of great riding in South Africa and Lesotho.  RR to come regarding Africa.

September 20

Finally got the ride report done on the trip to the UP here

September 11

Just got back form two great trips.  The UP of MI on the Thumper and Northern Quebec on the  GS.  The report on the Quebec Trip is here

July 3

I've just taken short trip over the past two weekends.  KW ADV night in St. George I arranged with a great turnout. Rode out to see and Amy in Barrie last Sunday, met the crew at DrCool's to plan the James Bay Run this summer, met Pete and Gerry to see Pete pick up his new Ural...and a few solo rides.

Today I decided to take a ride of a different sort.

I need to get my fat ass in shape.  My achy feet won't really let me run.  In fact they can even restrict hiking a bit...which is about my favorite thing to do that doesn't involve a motorcycle or a mattress...I guess it's just part of getting old.   So I pumped up the tires and took the push bike out.  Just a short ride <20 miles, but it's been a while.

It's not a fancy carbon fiber job like our good buddy Kareem's but it'll do.  It's a light hybrid....kind of like a GS.....a road bike with pretenses of being a dual sport :-)  I bought this a few years ago in the UK to ride the annual London to Brighton bicycle ride (here).  I've put quite a few miles on it around SE England  aside from those rides, but not recently.   Fortunately we have a lot of good dirt roads within a couple miles of me for this sort of riding.  So if you see something like this on one of your favorite gravel roads, ridden by someone in a tie-died t-shirt, please go easy with the roost.

June 13

New Ride report for the 2011 BYOB and my ride form Jax on my new R1150GS.  here 

May 7 2011

Gary "intotheabyss" invited us down to ride the Welland Canal trails that he's been involved with getting established and maintained for some time.  So GerryT and I rode down this morning and met up with him and "oldschoolorange" to take a ride.  Great trails...will definitely be exploring them more this summer.   I hate to stop and take pix, so these are courtesy of Gerry and his fruit phone....

 

Gary and Shawn along the canal

Here I am surveying some "delightful" slop

Looks like I took a less than ideal line through the bog........that clay-mud had my front wheel like a vice.  Took all of us to drag it out backwards.  

Good as new.....but about 10 pounds heavier with the clay it picked up.

Lunch stop.

January 24, 2011

 

I managed to update my two Scottish ride reports  here & here

October 11

Well, I'm back from Africa.  What a great trip.  While I wish that I was along for the whole time, I am satisfied with what I did.  I'll be heading back, that's for sure.  A big thanks to Gary for pulling this together.  Everything hasn't gone smooth, but that just  adds to the  adventure.  It really is a great group of interesting people that have gathered together for this expedition and I thoroughly  enjoyed getting to know each and every one of them.  I hope that I have formed friendships with at least some that will last.

I will be putting together a full ride report in the near future, but this is a quick summary with some pictures to post on ADV.  Many members in the Canadian section are wondering about what their friends are up to and internet access has been poor at best for them to post.  So here's a brief update and they will be adding their own soon enough.  The rest of the crew returns in ~ 10 days.

I couldn't take the time off for the entire 6 weeks, so last October I signed up with Gary for the middle portion of the trip from Swakopmund through to Johannesburg.  21 days with 18 in Africa. 

They had been on the road around 10 days when I arrived and had lost three bikes to road crashes already.  One rider was airlifted home, but is now doing the well, while the other two have continued either on the the truck or on pillion. My first day of riding took us north on the salt road along the Skeleton Coast and then east though the Namibian desert.  This experience changed my definition of "the middle of nowhere"

We had to separate by several hundred meters due to the dust we were kicking up so I missed the action, but Darrel, Harry and Shawn witnessed a group of Germans in a hatchback swerve in front of them and roll their car before landing back on the wheels. No one in our party was involved in the crash.  Enrico, a firefighter in real life, was once again called into duty to render aid.  A further reminder that the roads of Africa can take their toll if you are not careful. 

We then spent a few days in Damaraland, Namibia at a fantastic campsite.  During the day off, Harry and I decided to explore the local trails.  Some of my favorite riding of the trip.   Since the trails where tight and Rocky, and Harry was on a big GS, I was able to keep up with him.

We rode some fantastic gravel roads in this area.  We had lunch at the Camel Inn before the few of us that wanted to run fast on the gravel split of from the bulk of the riders that took pavement.  This is the entire entourage at lunch.

From there we entered Etosha National park and spent a couple of days there.  We travelled through much of Namibia without seeing a lot of traffic, but when they do have a traffic jam, it is done in their own special style....

During the day off in Etosha we all climbed aboard safari trucks and drove through the park to visit the water holes and see the wild life.  We saw tons of zebra, springbok, Kudu, Elephant, Lion, jackals...etc.... and I have lot's of great shots. Here, I'll just post one that I think is a great capture.

On our last night in Namibia we stayed in a camp along the Zambezi at the end of a long, long sandy road.  On the other side of the Zambezi is Angola...There are lot's of beautiful sunsets in Africa.

We crossed into Zambia which was quite amusing.  Since we were temporarily importing our bikes using Carnets, we had to first pay for our visas, then our local third party insurance and then our carbon tax and then our local council tax....you get the idea.  All this was done with a smile as they led you to a new room, building or trailer of course. A roadside cop tried to shake us down for more on the way to Livingstone, but Gary handled him pretty well.

One thing about Zambia is that the local currency, the Kwatcha, is valued at ~4700 to the dollar.  I actually withdrew 1,000,000 Quatcha and spent it all on beer, fuel and women in the the three days I was in Livingstone :-)  This bought one beer....or I could have used 1 US Dollar :-)

While in Livingstone, I joined Bev, Sue, Shawn and his family in renting a helicopter to view Victoria falls.  The water is low this time of year, as you can tell.

The campground in Livingstone was infested with monkeys and a few rogue baboons.  The monkeys were cute, but they got into EVERYTHING!

We then crossed into Botswana, which involved another African bureaucratic handoff in Zambia (and another "council tax"), a ferry crossing and then a triplicate road tax application that took ~20 minutes per bike in Botswana....20 bikes - one window....some waiting :-).  Botswana is the land of the elephants and we spent two days camped near the Chobe National Park.  We took another game drive that brought us exquisite wildlife in the morning and then a sunset cruise on the Chobe river through the park.  You may recognize some of this crew.

Further into Botswana, we camped in Nata.  A few of us were able to pull ourselves away from the pool to join Darrel in a run to the Botswanan salt pan.  160km of flat nothing sort of like Bonneville.  The ride back at night was spooky with the warthogs, donkeys, cattle, etc.   Did I mention that Africa had great sunsets???

We then crossed the border into South Africa and the African wilderness seemed to turn into what most of us felt resembled a civilized Europe...amazing what difference a border can make.  We spent the night in Hartbeetspoort which has a coastline somewhat resembling Amalfi.....

....and where the bikers from the greater Johannesburg area gather every Sunday.

Here's a shot Cath took of me crossing the dam in Hartbeetspoort

I already miss it :-(

Stay tuned for the full report and more pictures.

September 20

While the rest of the crew arrived in Africa, I had to take business trip to Taiwan.  I have spent a lot of time in Taiwan in the past. but my last trip was over 10 years ago....wow.  It's changed quite a bit, matured.  There is less smog and the people are more sophisticated...almost too western actually.  Anyway, its still a pleasure to do business with these people...great culture IMHO.   I didn't have any time for goofing off, but since the African crew made a stop in Dubai, I felt obligated to at least acknowledge the second tallest building in the world.....with a crappy picture.

September 9

I met Mark and a group of his friends down in the Deals Gap area.  This is the second year in a row that Mark and I have met down there .... actually it's every year that we have both lived in North America and both owned motorcycles....so I'm going to do my part to make this an annual tradition as if at all possible.  It's not quite half way for now, but the riding in the area really is fantastic.  Mark picked the cabin and it was really a great choice.  I suppose it could have been more centrally located to the roads we like, but the cabin itself was nearly perfect.  There was some stress as to it's ability to accommodate us all, so I headed down there by myself.  I really wanted to ride the 999, but neither wanted to ride it that far or rely on it for the entire weekend so I trailered it along with the Uly.  The trailer easily holds two bikes and can be pressed to hold three if needed. The gas mileage isn't very good, but my King Ranch F150 is easily the best vehicle that I have ridden long distance in....truly capable and comfortable.

I simply napped in a rest area and arrived on Friday morning in time to join in the ride.  So I set out on the Ducati with the group.  At the first fuel stop, I noticed that she was leaking fluid.  At first I assumed that it was expanded fuel leaking out the overflow, but it turned out that it was motor oil.  It seems that I had bottomed out on a railroad track and cracked my oil screen cap.  No other damage was done and it will be an easy fix, but it ruined the day.  I had to pillion back to the cabin with Mark and get my rig to go pick up the bike while he headed back out to hook up with the group.  All the pictures are provided by Mark.

Good thing that I had the Uly to fall back on.  I rode it to dinner, but when getting ready to head out the next morning I stood on the peg to swing my leg over..and boom....the bike fell over as the kickstand sheered off the crank case.  Fortunately, it was just the heads of the two bolts that sheared off and no real damage was done.  I believe the bolts were stressed when they had worked themselves loose during my trip around the lakes in July.  I was able to source replacement bolts, but reinserting them requires dropping the exhaust and I decided not risk snapping a header stud, or head and completely ruining the trip and soldiered on without a side stand.  It turns out that it is very easy to find a place to prop up your bike wherever you go, but the Uly is rather tall and I was carrying my gear on the back so it was a bit of a dance to swing my leg over every time....especially at the end of the day when tired.  This caused me to drop it the last day when heading home form dinner.  No damage done at least.

On Saturday, we formed a small group that liked to ride faster and farther than the bulk the team.  Mark and Hal were the fastest two on their ZX-14 and K1200 respectively, while I tried to keep a close third.   The five of us stopped for lunch at the Motor Company Grill in Franklin NC.

On Sunday Mark and I headed out on our own to visit Aunt Beverly and Uncle Richard in Maggie Valley

We ended up going through the Smokey Mountain national park and had a wonderful run up tTotD...US 129.

August 15

Yesterday, Gerry and I decided to head out on a long ride to take advantage of the weekend.  I planned a route taking us to the East in areas that we have ridded on various Ontario adventure rides.  Unfortunately, to get anywhere really good, you have to ride 2-3 hours at least.  The route I planned was 300 miles to Bancroft and another 300 back.  The 200 miles at each end were easy and fast, but the 200 in the middle were mostly twisty gravel and few goat trail roads. We packed gear in case we got too tired  and decided to stay out that way, but my plan was definitely to make it home Saturday night.

We met at my place at 0700 and took off.   I planned back roads for most of the trip and we hit a few nice areas like Salmon Lake road, the 507 and Old Hastings Road.  We made  Bancroft for Lunch at 1400.  Headed back out on the dirt roads of the area and home.  Since I was on the Uly I avoided the snowmobile trails that we often ride in the area but one road around Skootamatta Lake was a 5 mile goat trail with big rocks that made me take it slow.  Remember, I have a Drummer muffler instead of a real bash plate, 6.5" of travel and 17" PR2's......not really an off-road set up.  Gerry was much faster through this stuff on his KLR so took off while I took it more slowly.  There were no major water crossings and no deep mud so I was OK.  It's about as extreme as I'd want to take the  Uly though, but it handled it fine.  I would have had trouble if it was wetter and my sport-touring tires had to tackle deep mud.

We grabbed a bite in Orangeville and I made it home by 2230.  We avoided the rain for  most of the day, but finally found during the last hour.  I do not enjoy riding at night in the rain.  The visibility is simply too poor.  The odometer clicked to exactly 600.0 miles when I parked it in the garage.  Oh yeah.....Gerry was very disappointed to see that my 100hp bike got slightly better fuel mileage than his ~35hp hp KLR

August 8

No real updates.  The weather's been good so I've done a lot of local rides, but nothing major.  One point of interest is that the DR is officially on its way to Africa!  Here's a shot of the container just prior to closing the doors....courtesy of Gary.

 July 28

I had to some travelling for work, so that took out the middle of the month.  I had to visit battery suppliers in the Kyoto/Kobe/Osaka area and  then some more in South Korea.  I've spent a bit of time in Tokyo over the years, but this is only the second time that I've been throughout the other areas of Japan.  Since I had the weekend off, I decided to head down to Hiroshima.....just a 2 hour bullet train ride from Osaka.  From Hiroshima station we decided to walk towards the atomic site so we would have the opportunity to check out the town.  Here I am in front of the Atomic Dome, which is the only "surviving" structure from the blast area.

 

From there, we checked out the Peace Museum.  This is where they have archived the relics of the atomic blast and the story of the people.  It was very moving and a great reminder of the horrors of war and how political decisions, no matter how right, can so dramatically affect the common man.  It is always moving to be in a place were significant events really happened and I consider myself fortunate to have the opportunity.  Also toured around Hiroshima castle.  Here's a shot of the main keep.

On the way to Seoul on Sunday evening, we had a great view of Mt. Fuji

I also read the Striking Viking's first book "Two Wheels though Terror" in which Glen Heggstad rides his KLR to Tierra Del Fuego and back from California.  The title of the book comes from his 5 week captivity by the ELN terrorists in Columbia.  He continued the trip after that ordeal...not many could.  Not only is the adventure outstanding, but Glen is an engaging and believable writer.  You do not have to be an aspiring adventure rider to enjoy this one.  Highly recommended.

July 4

Happy Independence Day, America.   I spent the last three days riding around Lakes Superior and Huron so I'm tired.  Check out the ride report here.

Here's a shot of the travels my Uly has made in the past 12 months

June 26

African BS thread & eventual ride report on ADVRider:  African BS Thread

June 26

I think I have the transmission leak fixed on the FXR finally......It was pushing out the main shaft oil seal that sits between the main shaft and counter shaft....so that took some specialty tools.  Hopefully the new one is well seated now.  It will take a while for it to earn my confidence.  Also, I'm now running ATF in the primary....originally to help isolate the leak (clear vs. red) but it is shifting VERY nice so that may be the ticket.  First picture with on the road:

June 22

This past weekend I went up to Gary's farm for a camp out with most of the crew heading to Africa.  He has a nice place up in Meaford that works perfect for this sort of thing.  I rode up early Saturday morning in time for breakfast.  After goofing off we all went out for a ride. Dyno (Dave) from Michigan and I ended up breaking of to play on some muddy trails.  Other than having the entire rear of my bike submerged in one mud hole that was really too deep to ride through....though I did some how....no mishaps.   Gary then cooked again - some African sausage that we suspect is roadkill...but tasted great.... :-)  then more bull shitting and drinking....some Polish guy showed up and insisted on pouring these shots of Vodka, Blackberry syrup and Tabasco sauce!!!  The pouring became carless and too much Tabasco really is too much :-).   Anyway, I didn't take any pix but Dave may come through.  Now I just have to get the DR ready for packing next month.

June 18

Latest Ontario Eats the World gathering was organized by JoDawg in Burlington at Hillbilly Heaven BBQ.  It was a nice area and the usual suspects showed up.  Quite the variety of bikes, but no shots.  This pic is provided by Waterlilly

June 15

On the weekend of June 11, I gathered a group of Ontarians and headed down to our first national ADVRider event - the BYOB in Galeton PA.  Here's the  thread: http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=554970 

On Friday morning, I met up with Gerry, Pete and Mike for the ride down.  We met Lawrence for breakfast in Hamilton and then we were off.   It was a relatively painless ride down with some decent roads once we hit New York.  We were greeted by fellow Ontarian - Jim "Drif10" and decided camp down by the river.  (pic provided by Pete)

After a booze run we socialized and hung out by the fire....probably drank a little too much..oh well.  We were up in the morning and after Pete & I ran down to a local cafe for breakfast, met more Canadians there! We took off with HogRider and Augiedoggie for an unprecedented group photo.  There were more Uly's at the BYOB than KTMs or KLRs ???????   Four together is truly a rare site so we had to make the pilgrimage to Ulysses, PA.

  That day I led the ride with Gerry,  Pete & mike throughout some fantastic gravel and paved twisty roads through the local mountains....must get back for more good riding ..it's just too near.  The ride back Sunday was very wet.......thunderstorms for a good part, but everyone made it back safely.

June 8

Just back from 4 days in Vegas with Ray, Alex and Jay.  Jay was competing in world series of poker, so didn't see much him...that's all I'll say about that.  Stayed in a suite Caesars so it was pretty good location.  Didn't gamble a lot but ate well.  Finally made it to the Grand Canyon...via helicopter though.

Here's where I spent the 100+ degree mornings drinking Bloody Caesars...Canada's primary contribution to mixology.

Looks like Lake Meade is low

 

June 1

Over Memorial Day Weekend (USA) ,  I headed east for the second annual East Ontario Adventure Rally where we stay at the Elmhirst Resort.  It's always a great time, but I wish it wasn't so managed...really not in the spirit of an ADV gathering at all.  That said, the crowd that shows up is great and I've ridden with many of them over the past year so it's good to see them and ride some great roads.  The setup at Elmhirst perfect as the owner, Peter, is a fellow rider and is going on the Africa trip this fall.  You can look here for everyone's reports: http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=563615

I took off Friday afternoon and headed east.  Just as I pulled off the main roads and started exploring some two-track type roads east, I pulled over for a relief stop and what did I hear? but a group of big twins coming up.  Sure enough, I knew them!  It was Kahoon, DrCool & Moondoggie who knew their way around that part of the world much better than I, so I hooked up with them for the ride to Elmhirst.  Here's a shot that Kahoon took of me on the way

This is the group I rode with...way too fast on gravel roads.....left a little scar on the DR, but otherwise no problem....In order: Karim , Adam, Rob , Dave, Ron , Me, Gary, Greg, Mike

Obligatory shot of the beast that day

There were a few drops but I think we found the bridge that was modified by the local beavers to give most people a little problem.  Here's Dave crossing it.

 


May 20

I finally made it out to an Ontario Eat the World dinner.  We had a great turnout at a Moroccan joint in Toronto http://www.moroccantagine.ca/  Here's a shot of the table taken by Lawrence...will start making sure I have my camera out going forward.

 

May 8

Been a while, but I am going to try and get the ride reports and such finished over the next few weeks.  With my foot injury pretty much ruining March and early April I should have used that time...oh well.   In regards to Bikes, the riding season has started.  I've been out with fellow Ulyist Pete

Pete also took a picture of my new exhaust so I may as well post that here as well.....sounds good, but have been having some trouble getting a good seal with the header.  New torca on the way.....

I also did some work on the DR to get ready for Africa.  I upgraded the rear spring, added my Happy Trails pannier racks and armored the engine case just in time to take it out trail riding with Lawrence, Eric and Gary. 

 

Good riding.   I had some trouble in a mud hole though...oh well.

I was down in Florida at the end of April for Mitchell's graduation so saw the immediate family.  Here's the group picture after we got caught in a massive downpour.  Don't we look great?!?

 I finished  reading Ghost Rider by Neil Pert.   It's a good read, he has much the same interest in riding that I do and since he's sort of local there was some interesting tidbits, but it is a bit heavy and new agey at times.

February 22

Took the FXR out for an hour or two yesterday.  It was sunny and above freezing......that's pretty good for these parts.  Since I do not have heated grips or Hippo Hands for this bike, I had to rely on the snowmobile gloves, so cold fingers were my limiting factor.  The Buell still awaits it's new Drummer SS exhaust.

Finished reading Under and Alone by William Queen.  I'm not in to the true crime thing, though many are and living with Sherry for 7 years or so got me to have an understanding of this sort of thing, if not a great appreciation.  This was a very engaging read about an undercover ATF (puke) agent who actually patched in with the San Fernando Valley Mongols.  As an avid motorcyclist, the MC scene is fascinating because it forms some of the public's conscience concerning motorcycles.  It's a fascination similar to a car wreck...wouldn't want to be near it...but I think I get it.  Since Mr. Queen works for the ATF, it can be assumed that he is a liar, a thief, and a thug....this goes without saying to the enlightened.   However, he has spun a very good tale which ads another side to the story of the MC that has been covered so well by HST & Sonny Barger.  I recommend it.

February 15

Finally started putting the Uly back together.  I have the new Ceramic pipes on and and now need to get new throttle cables, tires (gonna get Michelin Pilot Road 2's, and paint the muffler.

February 8

Finished reading Hell's Angel - The Life and Times of Sonny Barger by Sonny Barger.  This is a great read, but is a complete puff piece.   It is a good contrast to Hunter Thomson's book "Hell's Angels".  Sonny opens up, but no insider can ever give an unbiased account, that's just the way it is.  He comes off as a cool guy, but not one that I would be friends with.  I really liked his assessment of certain famous people he was associated with....Hunter Thompson - "Great writer, but man what a pussy".  Mick Jagger - Love their music, but man what a pussy".  While their is an obvious theme, I can see both.......

February 7

Was invited up to Wolf Den near Algonquin Park for a weekend of winter activities bay Lawrence "Lornce" who was invited by his buddy Paul...another BMW rider.   A good group of hippy types and had a good time.  Snowshoed for the first time.  Bought new shoes and poles  and realized that I think I like the modern shoes for their grip in the ice, but CANNOT STAND trekking poles.   The poles do make nice collapsible hiking staves though.   Good to get into some real winter outdoor activities.

February 4, 2010

Finished reading Gathering Speed -Tales of Motorcycles and Life by David A. Braun.   I enjoyed it quite a bit, but this is not a read for people who do not ride.  It is a collection of experiences by a serious rider in the BMW scene and I definitely identify with them, but realize that I am nowhere near as serious a rider as he is.  I wish I was, but I really started in earnest much too late in life.  It's funny that he ads "Denizen of Doom #412" as his identifier as an author.  This refers to the ad hoc club out of the news group rec.motorcycles which was the first online riding community.  I actually am a DOD member -number 1386, but I was a lurker in the early 90's and not one of the net god's that formed that group....God I feel old.   David is a member of advrider.com....which is now the best online riding community.

February 3, 2010

I am slowly...I repeat slowly....building the website.  I have made sure the links work even thought most still go to stubs. I have added my ride report form my trip to the Black Forest on my BMW.  It is the first trip report that I ever wrote up and sent to friends in family a few years back...you can tell.  

 February 1, 2010


Welcome to my new website.  I don't have a clear vision of what it will become, but I intend to place my occasion thoughts here.  I will focus on rides and bikes at first as that is my main consistent passion (hobby is to weak) but we'll have to see how it goes.  I don't expect that anyone will actually read this, but it satisfies some creative impulse.

 

 

 

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